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Japanese stocks fell for the first time in three days as European leaders said they won’t expand a fund to end the region’s debt crisis and U.S. housing starts dropped, reviving concern exporters’ earnings will be curbed.
Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the world’s largest carmaker, lost 1.5 percent after French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected a plan to expand the rescue fund at a meeting in Paris. Inpex Corp. (1605), Japan’s biggest energy exploration company, declined 3 percent as crude oil fell yesterday. Sumco Corp. (3436), a maker of silicon wafers, tumbled 5.1 percent after Dell Inc. (DELL) cut its revenue forecast following sluggish consumer demand.
Resource companies had the biggest drop among the 33 industry groups in the Topix as oil prices fell yesterday. Inpex lost 16,000 yen to 510,000 yen. Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. (1662), the second-biggest oil driller, slid 1.5 percent to 3,305 yen.
Crude oil for September delivery declined 1.4 percent to settle at $86.65 a barrel in New York yesterday. The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial metals including copper and aluminum dropped 0.5 percent.
Semiconductor-related stocks fell after Dell, the second- largest personal computer maker in the U.S., missed analysts’ sales estimates and cut its revenue forecast, hurt by sluggish spending on desktop computers and consumer technology.
European stocks climbed, with the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index rising for a fourth day out of five, as some investors speculated that the 9.2 percent drop in equities this month makes their valuations attractive.
Vestas Wind Systems A/S posted the best performance in the Stoxx 600 after reporting second-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates. Health-care companies rallied as Sanofi climbed 2.8 percent. Carlsberg A/S, the Nordic region’s largest brewer, plunged 17 percent after reducing its full-year outlook.
The Stoxx 600 has still declined 18 percent from this year’s high on Feb. 17, on concern that Europe will fail to contain its sovereign-debt crisis and that the economic recovery is faltering in the U.S. The retreat has left the European benchmark trading at 9.8 times the estimated earnings of its companies, near the lowest valuation since March 2009.
Bank of England policy makers Spencer Dale and Martin Weale ended their push for an increase in interest rates this month as the euro-area crisis and signs of a global economic cooling threatened to hurt growth in Britain. The nine-member Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to hold the key rate at a record low 0.5 percent, according to the minutes of the Aug. 3-4 meeting published today in London.
U.S. stocks fell for a second day after Dell Inc. (DELL) forecast weaker sales growth, leading a slump in technology shares that helped reverse the market’s early gain.
Dell, the second-largest personal-computer maker, fell 10 percent as slower spending on PCs and consumer technology crimped its sales forecast. Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF), the teen- clothing retailer, slid 8.6 percent after company executives said expenses will continue to rise this year. Target Corp. (TGT) rose 2.1 percent as cost cuts helped boost profit. Eastman Kodak Co. (EK) surged 23 percent as analysts and investors told its patents may make it a takeover target.
The S&P 500 fell 13 percent from April 29 through yesterday on concern about Europe’s debt crisis and an economic slowdown. The index had rallied 7.5 percent over the three days before yesterday amid a decline in jobless claims, an increase in retail sales and better-than-estimated profits.
Per-share earnings increased 17 percent among the S&P 500 companies that have released quarterly results since July 11, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. About three-quarters of the companies have topped the average analyst profit forecast, the data show.
Stock-index futures maintained gains today after a report showed that wholesale costs in the U.S. rose more than forecast in July. The 0.2 percent advance in the producer prices index followed a 0.4 percent drop in June, Labor Department figures showed. Economists forecast a 0.1 increase, according to the median estimate. The so-called core measure, which excludes volatile food and energy, climbed 0.4 percent, the most since January.
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